Friday, March 1, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Bonaventura’s Blueprint For A Bright Future

By Amanda Wright

Amidst the pulse of progress and the hum of ambition in the heart of Mackay, Mayoral candidate Laurence Bonaventura sat down with Mackay Life editor Amanda Wright to discuss his plan for the region—a vision steeped in foresight, and an unwavering commitment to community welfare.

Progress Through Transparency

Laurence Bonaventura's roots in Mackay run deep, tracing back generations to a legacy of resilience and innovation. Descended from a lineage of pioneers, his grandfather embarked on a journey from Italy to Queensland, where he toiled as a cane cutter. This legacy of hard work and determination laid the foundation for Laurence's own path—a path that led from the fields of his grandfather's labour to the helm of a thriving civil construction enterprise in Habana.

Amidst the tumult of the sugar slump of 1984/85, Laurence faced a defining moment to keep food on the table. The Prime Minister of the time announced that farmers couldn’t expect to survive off farming alone, so Laurence invested in an excavator. Initially intended to supplement his income by a modest 20 per cent, the excavator swiftly evolved into the linchpin of his civil works business, providing around 80 per cent of the business revenue within a decade.

"As someone deeply rooted in this community, I understand the challenges we face and the opportunities that lie ahead,” Laurence said.

“My goal is to leverage my experience and expertise to chart a course toward a brighter future for Mackay and its residents.”

His involvement in various community initiatives, including church leadership roles, the formation of youth groups, and the establishment of the Habana District Progress Association, aimed to leave a lasting impact on Mackay's social fabric.

Since assuming office in 2012, Laurence has witnessed firsthand the ebb and flow of governance in Mackay.

"From economic downturns to structural reforms, I have remained a steadfast advocate for transparency, efficiency, and accountability," Laurence noted.

Laurence initially held specific portfolios, including waste management, health, and regulatory services; this gave him an in-depth understanding of the issues that council and residents face. In 2016, the council restructured, assigning two councillors to specific areas; Laurence oversaw Northern Beaches to Midge Point. However, by 2020, this system dissolved, leaving no defined areas of responsibility—a situation Laurence aims to rectify if elected Mayor.

"In my assessment, the previous council structure lacked clear organisation and failed to provide adequate training for councillors," he remarked.

"This led to a situation where newly elected councillors lacked experience in key areas and faced challenges in fulfilling their roles effectively," he added.

Should Laurence secure the mayoral position, a pivotal aspect of his strategy entails appointing two councillors per area of interest. This approach would designate a lead councillor alongside a backup, ensuring continuity of service in the event of absence or illness.

"By implementing this system, we aim to mitigate bias, distribute responsibilities equitably, and facilitate targeted training to enhance councillors' expertise," Laurence explained.

“It prevents 'councillor shopping,' ensuring that residents address the appropriate councillors for their concerns.”

Laurence advocates for increased transparency and accountability within the council.

"It is imperative that the public has a clear understanding of where and how taxpayer funds are allocated," he asserted.

"As part of this effort, I propose presenting spending options for the 2025 budget to the public at least a month in advance for open discussion and feedback," he said.

"This inclusive approach ensures community involvement in decision-making processes, fostering a sense of ownership and pride in the outcome.”

Laurence believes in providing good stewardship, so the next generation aren’t left with untenable debt.

“The long-term financial forecast needs to have a close eye kept on it,” he said.

“The projected debt figures for the next decade are too high in my opinion. We need someone who can make a difficult decision, but the right one, to protect the financial stability of this council and this region for future generations.”

Authorised by Laurence Bonaventura, 831 Mackay-Habana Rd, Habana

Caption: Laurence Bonaventura explained areas of concern regarding Mackay Regional Council’s long-tern future forecast debt figures. Photo credit: Amanda Wright

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